Older (Often Unhappy) Workers Share Their Opinions

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The Conference Board has released a new survey that reveals somewhat discouraging findings: Americans are working longer, even though most don't want to and their employers wish they wouldn't.

According to the newly released report, 68% of older workers (those 50 and above) are staying in their jobs longer due to economic reasons. But their decision to continue working well into their retirement years is not always favorably received by their employers. In fact, survey participants reported getting little encouragement from their employers to continue working.

The report is based on a survey of 1,500 workers whose companies belong to The Conference Board's "Engaging Mature Workers" Working Group. The report found that most companies are not actively encouraging their older workers to remain with them, with many older workers saying supervisors have denied them developmental opportunities because of their age. Also, one-third of younger mature workers (those 50 to 55) who are planning to retire do not feel respected by their companies, and one in five plan to make a career change.

Among the other findings:

* Many companies offer older workers severance packages, only to rehire them later as contractors at higher salary levels. Other older workers eligible for retirement leave their firms, only to join other organizations.

* Mature workers have high levels of continued job intensity: fewer than half of the survey participants plan to retire within five years.

* Most survey participants are not retiring to attend to family care obligations, but are instead remaining in the workforce to manage these needs.

* Older employees are not retiring because of health care concerns, but are staying in their current job to retain health benefits, keep active, and to continue working in a field that still interests them.

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